I posted Group Pontification back in March, when I stated I was going to do an experiment. My JibberJobber – Career Management Group on LinkedIn now has 476 members, with very little marketing. I’m not suggesting that you can have a group with hundreds of members with “very little marketing,” but I really haven’t pushed the Group.
I’ll write a third post to wrap the Groups idea up, focusing on the value of LinkedIn Groups for the group owner… for now let’s talk about the value of Groups for people who become members.
The value of Groups is quite elusive, so if you don’t “get it,” you aren’t alone. Let me list the things I have been able to determine:
- Expanded search capability. In the Advanced Search section of LinkedIn, you can choose to limit or include other Group members in a search. I haven’t played around with this but they way they write it, it seems you can’t include your network AND Group members, rather either or.
- Expanded findability factory. Turn #1 around, and the idea that “those people” who are searching for “you,” in various capacities (employee, employer, vendor, customer, partner, etc.) will have a better chance of finding you if you are both members of the same Group.
- Ability to browse through other Group members. Supposedly these are people who we will have something in common with … although I would guess that’s true less than 50% of the time.
- Ability to inMail other Group members. This may be one of the most valuable reasons to be in a Group. I tried to inMail someone at a second degree from me and got the “upgrade now” screen… and then I tried to inMail someone who was a second or third degree but a member of a Group I’m in, and was able to do it. Wow, this is a huge compelling reason to join as many Groups as you can, if you have a proactive LinkedIn strategy!
So what am I missing? Some of these might seem trivial (like #3), but really, being a member of a group increases your ability to find and be found, and communicate with other Group members. Not too shabby.
I’ve seen LinkedIn Groups get slammed because it doesn’t have richer communication functionality, like that you’d find in a Facebook Group… but within the LinkedIn world, I think three of these four benefits are quite compelling.
And it’s why you’ll find people who are in a TON of Groups.
Some gems on LinkedIn Groups throughout the blogosphere:
- Expand Your Network with LinkedIn Groups – by Scott Allen himself, check out the comments which are rich with info
- [MyJobTIGER] Top Advantages Of Joining Groups On MyLinkingPowerForum.com – I think this is a splog but it’s a post that Vincent Wright wrote which is very good
- Get Linkedin To Groups! - Rocky VanBrimmer from Central Ohio Network
- LinkedIn Review #3: How to Use Groups – Bill Branstetter’s recruiter perspective on how to use Groups on his Recruiter Resources Review blog
- Using LinkedIn Groups - Mike Mueller on Lenderama (which is not a llama)
and here’s an official LinkedIn blog post about Groups:
What’s new in LinkedIn Groups? Learn more (Sept 21, 2007, by Ben Guthrie)
What am I missing? Next post in this series is the value of LinkedIn Groups for the Group owner.
Looking for more info on LinkedIn? Check out my book!